Today in the chart

What One Nurse Entrepreneur Created and Her Advice to Follow Her Footsteps 100%

Dropstat has helped to fill 35% more shifts despite being unable to pull nurses out of thin air and only utilizing who the facility already has on staff.


Minimally invasive robotic surgery. 

Grand hospital lobbies with water features.

Neatly planted botanicals and flowers.

Chronic short-staffing.

One of these is not like the other, but they’re nearly all present in hospitals across the United States. It was very unsettling to Sara Well, the CEO and founder of Dropstat, a healthcare staffing solution platform. With her background as an ICU charge nurse, she saw firsthand how, despite growing technological advances, nurse staffing innovation was almost nonexistent. She created Dropstat to slow the wounds of an ever-growing nursing exodus. 

The Journey to Dropstat

Well recalls spending precious time on the unit procuring staff while her nurses struggled to care for patients. She reiterates that with all the technology we have today, she was surprised that hospitals relied on methods that were decades old.

While struggling to plug staffing holes, Well:

  • Called left staff voicemails
  • Texted staff to pick up shifts
  • Manually calculated staffing matrices for her unit
  • Was unsure how much overtime and agency budget they were dipping into

“It just wasn’t sustainable,” she remarks. The ideal solution everyone wishes for is an influx of nurses ready and willing to work until retirement. But with nursing retirement already outpacing entrance into the field, hoping for such an influx isn’t a realistic remedy. With these expected numbers, “We’re in the golden age of nursing. Right now,” Well shares, which is a terrifying thought, she adds. It’s possible that in the near future, we could only dream of having Covid-times staffing.

Well agrees that the nursing shortage has root causes that need to be addressed, such as:

  • Increasing the number of nursing schools and nurse training programs
  • Decreasing nurse burnout
  • Increasing pay for staff nurses

What Well did with Dropstat was design an immediate solution for short-staffing. While the industry needs time to solve these systemic issues, Dropstat allows hospitals to use what they already have on hand more efficiently.

How Dropstat Works

Well likens Dropstat to a weather report. If you were an ICU charge nurse, for example, when logging in, the interface greets you with a weekly view. Each day displays a number that depicts how balanced the staffing is. If you have a negative number, you’re understaffed. A positive one and you’re properly staffed or overstaffed if it’s a higher number.

Once you see those staffing needs, Dropstat helps you to fill them. A priority for Dropstat is to do so in the most cost-effective way possible. 

There are endless ways to configure Dropstat, but some of the key features include:

  • The average price of that staff member. Dropstat doesn’t list any individual hourly rates, but it will show the average rate for that job title, like a traveler with agency X, a traveler with agency Y, a float nurse, a nurse who usually works at a sister hospital location or a staff nurse on the unit. 
  • The amount of hours someone has worked that pay period. If someone has already worked significant overtime, not only is it reaching into the overtime budget, but those nurses may be burned out and need rest. On the other hand, if a nurse hasn’t picked up a shift in a while, they may feel refreshed and ready to add another shift.

Along with this, Dropstat also:

  • Creates a schedule draft based on scheduling requirements set by the desired staff matrix
  • Communicates all the unfilled needs to all qualified team members, to both internal and external teams
  • Approves staff schedule and picked-up shifts based on seniority, safety, and cost, as well as other input data points from hospital leadership
  • Offers in-platform rewards and incentives for staff who pick up shifts

Dropstat has helped to fill 35% more shifts despite being unable to pull nurses out of thin air and only utilizing who the facility already has on staff. It can also integrate with current time clock systems and self-scheduling if desired.

Every Nurse an Entrepreneur

When asked, Well said she hopes the biggest takeaway nurses have when they learn about her work with Dropstat is that You have so much potential with your skills.

It seems daunting to start a company. You don’t know what marketing people do. You don’t know how to code. You don’t know how to talk to investors. But you don’t learn that in nursing school, and that’s okay. What you did learn in nursing school, Well says, is to work hard and be a lifelong learner.

One of her dreams is for every nurse to see themselves as a problem solver with the capacity to build solutions that can scale.If you don’t know where to start, here are some of her tips:

  • Find a problem you deal with at work. For Well, it was staffing. For you, maybe there’s another task you spend lots of time on that has potential for innovation.
  • Brainstorm solutions. You don’t have to know how to make the product right now, but consider how you could create it. Could the solution be a physical product? Could it be a web application? Does it deal with policies or procedures?
  • Do research. Once the ideas are flowing, start researching how you could implement them. Even if it seems overwhelming, many great startups have begun with someone googling, “How do you make a patent?” or “How to find an investor.” Everyone starts somewhere.
  • Connect with others. Well says she wouldn’t be here without the support of other business owners, creators, and investors who have believed in her. She emphasizes that many nurse business leaders would love to help you get your idea off the ground and point you in the right direction.

Well adds that if it’s any encouragement, being an entrepreneur has, in some ways, been easier than being a nurse. “I often work 20-hour days on my business, but none of these days are as physically and emotionally taxing as the work I performed as a nurse in the hospital,” she says with a smile.

Final Thoughts 

Even when she faced opposition, Well says she believed Dropstat had what it took to make a change in healthcare. Likewise, if you feel the need to create something out of a problem that you have, being a nurse who works day in and day out to care for their patients, your idea is bound to have potential if you nurture it properly.

Are you feeling inspired? Subscribe to The Nursing Beat to keep up with the latest nursing innovations and nurse entrepreneurs. 

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